|Don Sweeney wants to get feel for Milan Lucic’s contract demands before making decision||05.20.15 at 8:59 pm ET|
How the Bruins proceed with Milan Lucic will be high on the list of things that define the early going of Don Sweeney’s tenure as Bruins general manager. Sweeney is well aware.
Lucic, who turns 27 next month, has been a dominant player in seasons past. His numbers have been in decline for years, however, and he carries a $6 million cap hit entering the final year of a contract that allows him to pick 15 teams to which he’d accept a trade.
Speaking to WEEI.com Wednesday evening, Sweeney called Lucic a “foundational type player” but noted that the B’s will get a feel for Lucic’s future contract demands before proceeding. Trading Lucic would shed cap space, but the team might not get the return they’d have gotten for him in years past given that he is coming off a season in which he scored just 18 goals.
“The CBA at this point in time, you can’t argue with what’s in front of us and the challenges it may present,” Sweeney said. “[Lucic] is going into a contract year and free agency’s on the other side of it. We’re going to have to be out in front and have some early discussions and certainly get a temperature read as to how much he wants to be a part of the Boston Bruins‘ future going forward.
“We have to convey a similar thing and make a [decision]. Some of these decisions and conversations aren’t going to be easy. They’re not, but it was part of me as a player that I appreciated when coaches and people had conversations with you. You may not like all the stuff being said, but you can process it and move past it and understand that it’s part of it.”
With the exception of his improvement from a disastrous 2013 season, Lucic’s goals per 60 and points per 60 have dropped in each year since a career year in 2010-11 in which he scored 30 goals. Sweeney said he feels Lucic can still be the impact player that he’s been in the past.
“He has a presence about him,” Sweeney said. “It might not have been his finest year, but there are moments where you realize, ‘Wow. This guy is a unique player.’ We’re going to have to have discussions along those lines.”
|Milan Lucic says Don Sweeney a ‘great’ hire for Bruins||at 1:18 pm ET|
Milan Lucic‘s future is now in Don Sweeney’s hands. Reached for comment upon the team’s hire of Sweeney, Lucic expressed excitement for the new GM.
“I think it’s great,” Lucic said of the hire. “He’s been around the organization for a while and [I] think he’ll do a great job.”
Lucic is entering the final year of a three-year, $18 million contract. Sweeney and the B’s could either try to extend the player, trade him or go into the season with him unsigned, a rare practice in the days of former GM Peter Chiarelli.
Lucic has a partial no-trade clause that allows him to submit a list of 15 teams to which he would accept a deal.
Speaking to WEEI.com on Monday, Lucic declined to share whether he would take a hometown discount to remain with the Bruins.
“We’ll see what happens,” Lucic said Monday. “We’ll have to wait and see what happens.”
For more Bruins news, visit weei.com/bruins.
|Milan Lucic on potential hometown discount: ‘We’ll have to wait and see’||05.18.15 at 7:24 pm ET|
Entering the final year of his contract, Milan Lucic doesn’t know which general manager will sign him next, whether that’s in Boston or elsewhere. As he and his teammates await the team’s hiring of Peter Chiarelli’s successor, Lucic’s future with the Bruins remains unclear.
Lucic is entering the final year of a three-year, $18 million deal that commands an annual salary cap hit of $6 million. He has a modified no-trade clause that allows him to submit a list of 15 teams to which he would accept a trade.
Asked Monday whether he would take a hometown discount to remain with the Bruins, Lucic was non-committal.
“We’ll see what happens,” he said. “We’ll have to wait and see what happens.”
Lucic has stated multiple times that he wants to stay with the Bruins.
“For myself, personally, I just want to be back and stay in Boston,” Lucic said at the conclusion of the Bruins’ season on April 11 in Tampa. You love the team, you love the city, you love the organization and you hope that things stay the same as much as they can.”
More to come on Lucic.
As far as Boston athletes go, there might not be a more devout sports fan than Milan Lucic. As such, it wasn’t totally ridiculous that he fielded questions about Deflategate Monday night at Rob Ninkovich‘s celebrity ping pong tournament.
Lucic responded by noting the Patriots’ second-half success in the game in which they were caught and saying that Tom Brady is one of the greatest quarterbacks of all time regardless of what comes of the ongoing process.
“It’s funny,” Lucic said. “I mean, a lot of fans outside, they obviously don’t like the teams that win a lot. In New England, we’ve been spoiled here with a lot of championships, especially since 2001-02.
“As far as Deflategate goes, personally I don’t even know what a fully pumped-up football is supposed to feel like, so I can’t comment on much, but at the end of the day, if you look at it as a whole, they scored most of their points in [the AFC Championship] in the second half, so say what you want. In my mind [we’re still talking about] still one of, if not the best quarterback of all time, one of the best franchises in football history.
Added Lucic: “Like I said, a lot of fans on the outside world, they don’t like the teams that win a lot. It’s just the nature of the sport and we’re OK with that as athletes. We all love to win and we love to win for our fans and our city. We’re proud doing it.”
Check back soon for Lucic’s thoughts on hockey-related matters.
|Bruins won’t re-sign Gregory Campbell, Daniel Paille||04.13.15 at 12:23 pm ET|
Much of the conversation of Monday’s breakup day at TD Garden revolved around the future of the Bruins. Some current players won’t be part of it.
Paille and Campbell have already been notified that they won’t be back. Bartkowski has not yet been told whether he’ll be offered a contract. Soderberg will not return to Sweden. He’d like to stay with the Bruins, but he would get more money and opportunity elsewhere.
The free agents are just part of the equation. Especially if Peter Chiarelli is to be relieved of his duties, trades could be a big part of this offseason. The biggest name to watch in that regard is that of Milan Lucic. The 26-year-old left wing is entering the final year of his three-year, $18 million contract, and though he wants to stay, that might not be the right business move for the Bruins.
“I like to think that I’m worth it,” Lucic said of his contract. “I showed in the past that I earned the deal that I’m currently on with my play on the ice. That’s one of the things that I have to do in order to [get another big contract] moving forward. I have to prove that I’m still worth that, and you have to prove that by your play on the ice.
“I still believe I can bring a lot to the table as a player. I plan on doing that moving forward.”
Lucic’s modified no-trade clause allows him to submit a list of 15 teams to which he would accept a trade. He is coming off an 18-goal season, marking the second time in the last three seasons that he has averaged less than 0.25 goals per game. Lucic scored at a 0.37 goals per game rate in his 30-goal 2010-11 campaign.
|Milan Lucic doesn’t want to be traded, Bruins players accept blame for lost season||04.11.15 at 11:37 pm ET|
TAMPA, Fla. — The Bruins didn’t play dumb after concluding their disaster of a 2014-15 season. They know that when the bar is set high and the results come in low, things can change quickly.
Charlie Jacob’s words about the team’s leadership being under review midway through the season suggested general manager and Peter Chiarelli could be on the hot seat. Star players could be shipped out of town.
Milan Lucic, a player who is both one-of-a-kind and overpaid, hopes this season didn’t cost anyone their jobs, himself included. Lucic has one season remaining on a three-year, $18 million contract with a modified no-trade clause. The 26-year-old, who will be an unrestricted free agent following the deal, had just 18 goals in 81 games this season.
“Obviously, there’s high expectations on this team and this organization,” he said. “I think, if you look at things, when there’s those high expectations and they aren’t met, changes usually seem to be made. As a player, those are things that are out of your control.
“For myself, personally, I just want to be back and stay in Boston. You love the team, you love the city, you love the organization and you hope that things stay the same as much as they can.”
Players were aware of Jacobs’ comments. The B’s went on a five-game winning streak in January following that press conference, but their play dropped off again in a season full of starts and stops. Tuukka Rask felt that said the players failed their bosses and not the other way around.
“Coaches put the game plan out there and we go out there and try to execute it,” Tuukka Rask said. “Obviously that wasn’t the case this year, so a lot of it falls on us as players because we underachieved. We just have to live with it.”
Asked about Julien and Chiarelli, Brad Marchand said it’s ‘not their fault that we didn’t perform.’ Marchand, who led the Bruins with 24 goals this season, said that nobody did well enough this season.
“I don’t think that any of us really performed to our capabilities this year,” Marchand said. “The goals may have been there at times, but that doesn’t mean that I had any better of a season than anyone else. I think we all know that we could have been better, and if we were then we wouldn’t be here right now. This is a failure of a season for all of us and it doesn’t matter what guys’ stats were.”
TAMPA, Fla. – Chowder and playoff hockey: That’s what Boston does.
Perhaps until Saturday night, anyway. If the Bruins do not get the help they need from both other teams and then beat the Lightning, they will miss the playoffs for the first time since the 2006-07 season. Dave Lewis was the head coach, Zdeno Chara was in his first year with Boston and a 21-year-old Patrice Bergeron was the team’s bright spot. David Krejci (six games) was the only other current Bruin to play for that team.
That roster was terrible. This one isn’t.
Postseason hockey has become a given since Claude Julien arrived the following season. Brad Marchand, in his fifth full NHL season, has never realistically had to think about where to vacation in April. If Lady Luck spurns the B’s Saturday, he and his teammates will be cleaning out their lockers at TD Garden before the superior half of the league begins the playoffs on Wednesday.
Julien’s Bruins have set a higher standard. Though they’ve had a couple close calls over the years, none have been anything like this. Marchand said that while he figured there would be a time in his Bruins career that the team might fall off from the elite teams of the Eastern Conference, he never thought it would happen this quickly.
“I know teams go through times where they rebuild, especially in the cap era, but I don’t think we were expecting to be battling for a playoff spot like this for a few years to come,” Marchand said after Saturday’s morning skate.
Milan Lucic, a member of the 2009-10 team that finished with the seventh seed and blew a 3-0 series lead in the Eastern Conference semifinals to the Flyers, said Saturday morning that he would consider this the most disappointing season he has experienced if the Bruins missed the playoffs.
Lucic’s first season was in 2007-08, the start of Boston’s seven-year streak of reaching the postseason annually. That group didn’t secure its spot until the final days of the season, getting in as a No. 8 seed before taking the top-seeded Canadiens to seven games before being eliminated.
Compared to this, that season was triumphant. There is no feel-good story attached to the Bruins’ current situation and they know it.
“You compare this team to the ‘07-08 team,” Lucic said. “On paper, we’re so much better, and here we are with the situation we’re in. I guess I’ll have a better answer for you tonight.”
The Bruins built off that 2008 playoff berth. Missing out on one this season could signal organization changes and they know it.
Peter Chiarelli and Claude Julien both deserve to keep their jobs. They are two of the best in the league at what they do, and with no guarantee that better options will be available, blowing things up could leave the Bruins where the Penguins currently stand: fighting for the playoffs on the last day themselves, with no first-round pick after the team hastily moved it in a desperate attempt to bolster its offense.
Yet Charlie Jacobs said what he said in January and he might feel required to hold someone accountable. That could mean changes, and a new leadership group would mean no current players are safe.
“Anything can happen if things go wrong,’ Marchand said, ‘but today isn’t really the time to talk about that. It’s more worrying about what we can control and playing a big game tonight.
“You know what? If we win tonight, then it’s possible that we’re still in. Hopefully that’s the case, but if not then we’ll worry about that in the next few days.”